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Basking under Northern Michigan’s cerulean summer sky is thirsty work. The best remedies we know are easy drinking alchemies of white liquor, bright citrus and fresh herbs. Mammoth Distilling in Central Lake (and Bellaire and TC) shares the spirit of summer with us.

Planning the perfect lakeside day drinking session takes some prep work. Before slathering on the sunscreen, plan a morning jaunt to a weekend farmer’s market (Boyne City and Harbor Springs have bonus waterfront views) for fresh berries, fiery jalapeños, cucumbers and fragrant bunches of fresh mint and cilantro.

Muddling materials and garnishes in hand, make for a distillery tasting lounge like Mammoth Distilling’s digs in Traverse City’s Warehouse District and stock up on gin, vodka or white whiskey. Pack your cocktail kit, fill the cooler with ice, stock enough snacks and beeline for a preferred relaxing perch. You’ve earned it.

Summer Bar Cart

Sip easy with these clear spirits from some of the North’s best stills.

Mammoth Distilling // Traverse City, Central Lake, Bellaire // Vodka
Clean, smooth and triple distilled for maximum purity.

Iron Fish Distillery // Thompsonville // Michigan Woodland Gin
Laced with hints of juniper and fragrant native botanicals like Concolor Fir.

Ethanology // Elk Rapids // Frumentum White Whiskey
Not your pappy’s moonshine, the smooth sophisticated Frumentum takes its cues from Shooks Farm blue corn.

La Picante 

  • 1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 slices jalapeño
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 2  ounces Mammoth Distilling Vodka
  • cilantro sprig

In a pint glass, muddle simple syrup with cilantro sprigs and jalapeño slices. Add lime juice, vodka and ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass, add ice and garnish with a fresh cilantro sprig.

Photo(s) by David Weidner